Monday, 1 March 2010

Testers from the Animal Kingdom

 #softwaretesting #fun

 Warning: Frivolity alert! If you're looking for a serious piece, please move on :-)

During the writing of my last post I wanted to use a group name for testers - a slightly loose way of referring to a group of people. My references from the animal kingdom were a herd (as in cows), a flock (sheep), a gaggle (geese) and a pack (wolves).

However, I immediately noticed that these names trigger a response (a reaction in the reader). I'm currently reading Gladwell's Blink so I'm very aware of concious & unconcious interpretations (at least just now...)
I mean, a gaggle of testers? 
What impression would that give? 
Two things spring to mind for me: either a bunch of chattery and disorganised folk or a group of Jimmy Savile look-a-likes with cigar, gold jewellry and catchphrases.
So, using the sort of subconcious bias that we have with words I thought I'd explore some animal groupings and how that might apply to testers. As with all testing, this is not exhaustive :)

  • A mischief of testers (Rat): Testers who just want to break things! (Oh, I might've found a winner already...)
  • An unkindness of testers (Raven): Testers who give feedback without phrasing in the 3rd person or being diplomatic... (Maybe some people transition through this...)
  • A tittering of testers (Magpie): Testers who can't keep a straight face when pointing out faults to a developer (or anyone.)
  • A pride of testers (Lion): Testers who flounce in thinking they own the place (is the quality police?)
  • A pudding of testers (Mallard): Slightly clumsly and disorganised...
  • A scourge of testers (Mosquito): Yes, they're the testers with slightly less developed people skills when it comes to feedback (feedback on a piece of paper attached to a brick if you're lucky!)
  • A bloom of testers (Jellyfish): Don't know but it's positive sounding - maybe a tester before they go on maternity leave or testers on their way to a wedding (flower buttonholes.)
  • A colony of testers (Badger): All sorts of connotations here - could it be an off-site grouping that is either faithfully loyal to the mother site or a grouping wanting to otherthrow the mother rule and go it alone (I've seen both in action...)
  • A shiver of testers (Shark): The ruthless efficiency with which the tester circles in to localize the fault (at least seen from the perspective of a 'pudding' dev.)
  • A crash of testers (Hippopotamus): Could be a combination of an unkindness and pudding of testers (maybe not a popular combination!)
  • A risk of testers (Lobster): A risk-based tester?
  • A marmalade of testers (Pony): A grouping of sweet, tart and pithy testers (or the ones located in the Seville office.)
  • A parliament of testers (Owl & Raven): A group that is filled with a lot of talk and occasional hot air, but tries to be democratic.
  • A business of testers (Ferret): They get on with the task at hand in a professional way (or spend a lot of time sleeping and are active around dusk & dawn - a la ferret.)
  • An army of testers (Ant): When the tester to developer ratio is very high!
  • A coffle of testers (Donkey): An easy-kept group with a tough digestive system (will tackle anything!) (I hope Lisa Crispin will correct me if I'm wrong here!)
  • A wisdom of testers (Owl): The gurus or architects that you turn to now and then (or the self-proclaimed group thinking they know it all..)
  • A troop or cartload of testers (Monkey): A group of testers that make the organisation tick - everything so choreographed! (Could this be a dream goal?)
  • A harem of testers (Seal):  No comment...

The interesting thing is that I can relate to most of these groupings via testers I have met, worked with or observed in the past...

Credit to @shrinik & @ElizaFx for setting off this divergent thinking exercise!

Any goodies that I missed?


  1. Yep... A 'Murder' of Testers (Crows): I think it speaks for itself.

  2. A "murder", yes, good one.

    It could go hand-in-hand with a "lynching" or "lynch-mob" for when things boil over with the PM (all in the hypothetical bad-old-days of course!)

  3. And a Goofy tester group... A set of testers who don't know anything about testing, but still call themselves testers and tend to live on borrowed ideas....